Backpacking Clothes: How Much Should You Bring?

There’s a learning curve with any new hobby you pick up. If you’re new to backpacking or hiking you surely have lots of questions regarding the rules of backpacking. Generally speaking, experience is the best way to learn the answers to those questions. Of course, doing your homework can save you from doing some of the legwork. Here’s some information about backpacking clothes, specifically how much clothing you need while backpacking.

How much clothing should I bring on a backpacking trip?

The amount of clothing you need while backpacking depends on weather conditions, the duration of your trip, and personal preference. The colder it is, the more layers you need, if there’s rain in the forecast, you may want to pack a dry change of backpacking clothes, you need more clothing for a 2-week trip than you need for a 2-day trip, etc.

Of course, in all of these scenarios there are people who can get by without packing any extra clothing as well as people who knowingly choose to bring more clothing than is necessary.

Here’s the skinny. You have limited space in your backpack, and you don’t want to carry unnecessary weight while backpacking. Packing changes of clothing adds extra weight and takes up valuable space.

There’s not a precise answer as to how much clothing you need while backpacking, but there are things to consider that can help you decide whether or not to pack extra clothes.

As a general rule of thumb…

If you’re hiking 3-4 days in mild temperatures without precipitation, you can probably get by with the clothes on your back. Anything more than 3-4 days on the trail you can consider packing a change of clothes – at least something to wear while you do laundry. Weather and preference will also factor into how much clothing you bring.

The two sides of comfort

There’s a physical and mental aspect to comfort. Having a clean, dry change of clothing can make you happier. Clean clothes also just feel better than moist and grimy britches.

Only you know how much you value a clean change of clothes. If clean backpacking clothes will make a significant difference in your mood, then pack extra clothes.

What about socks?

While you don’t necessarily have to pack an extra outfit, it’s a good idea to carry extra socks. Socks get gross fast. Clean socks also help prevent blisters, and they can really help improve your mood. Consider wearing a pair of sock liners, which can increase the mileage you get out of your socks.

What about undies?

Maybe you don’t like the idea of wearing the same pair of underwear for 2 weeks straight. You can bring an extra pair of underwear for peace of mind. If nothing else, it gives a pair to wear so you can clean your other pair. Of course, you can also do laundry au naturel…

Pack jammies

Even if you don’t want to pack extra clothes for hiking, you need to have a clean set of clothes to sleep in. Your sleeping clothes can double as your laundry clothes, too.

Stop by Uncle Sam’s Safari Outfitters for hiking apparel, backpacking clothes, and anything you need to spend time outdoors!

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